Saturday, July 31, 2021

The return of Monopolis

After a year's (enforced) hiatus, I will be bringing my Monopolis setup back to MillenniumCon this year. Monopolis, of course, is my big Ogre/GEV minis setup. As the event description says:

The year after the Great Plague, the peaceful City of Monopolis rises above the rubble of the Last War, a gleaming center of commerce and industry. But no peace lasts forever. Now invaders march to conquer the city while outnumbered defenders scramble to protect their home. This is a custom scenario for Ogre/GEV, using the official Ogre miniatures (and a few original units) on a large hex mat with 3-D terrain. With room for up to 8 players, you and your friends can aid in the defense of the besieged city--or help the invaders conquer it. Fight in the Siege of Monopolis!

As the game convention has expanded to start on Thursday, I chose the Friday afternoon slot for my game. Looking forward to attending this game convention again, and I hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Terraformed Mars


Since we were one player short for our scheduled evening of Frostgrave, we instead had a three-player Terraforming Mars game. While I have played TM solo countless times over the past year or so, having opponents is a very different experience. 

When you're looking at the board by yourself, you just concentrate the terraforming part of the game, ignoring actions that give you victory points. When you have other players to think about, it requires a lot of consideration about scoring--or denying your opponents an opporunity to score. 

This time, my two opponents seemed to get their economic engines running long before I did, and I thought I would finish a distant third. However, after the planet was terraformed and we tallied up the points, I came in first. But even if I had come in last, I still would have enjoyed playing. That's because Terraforming Mars is a fun and challenging game that gives me a different experience every time I play. If you're into boardgames as well as wargames, you should give TM a shot.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Literally garbage

These are some quick-and-dirty terrain pieces made from household detritus that I had been hoarding like a packrat. Inspired by the crafting videos from Wyloch's Armory, but boiled down a bit, I made these by spraying the base color, gluing on greeblies, heavily drybrushing with silver, and then drowning in a black wash.

This first piece is what I like to think of as some kind of alien computer or scientific instrument. As you may have guessed, this is the plastic blister from a AA battery pack, with a couple of sprues from old Warhammer bases glued on top.
Next is a power generator made from the tray holding the cookies inside the box. You get bonus points if you recognized it as coming from Girl Scout cookies (unfortunately, I don't remember which kind). In addition to the plastic sprues on top, I glued water bottle caps to this side, and some unused bases that came with some WizKids unpainted miniatures to the other side.
Last is this device, maybe some sort of engine or other mechanical contraption, from the packaging that once held an electric toothbrush. Add some sprues and the plastic fasteners that come with cold cuts from my supermarket deli, and we have a nice piece of alien machinery.
While Wyloch and other crafters use browns, grays, and blacks for that grimdark aesthetic, I wanted my sci-fi terrain to be more colorful, like the fantastic images from my youth. The spray paints I used (Rustoleum Paint + Primer Satin) looked bright when first applied, but the weathering toned it down the right amount to make these pieces look like they belong together on the tabletop. Not bad for what started out as a bunch of junk!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Returning to gaming with Stargrave

Our first miniatures game since the pandemic began (yay vaccines!), so I rebased my old Rogue Trader-era figures as my Stargrave crew (all original 30-year-old paint jobs, except the commissar, who I painted within the last decade or so). The Bastard Squad is led by Al S.T. Claar, the comissar. He still thinks he's in a 40K game, so he has some words about the Emperor he would like to share.
Since there were four of us, we had plenty of terrain to fill a 6' x 6' table at the game store. We decided to just play a generic game with all four players to get to know the rules.
Mechanically, this game is very similar to Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago. But with weapons like grenades--and grenade launchers--it's not a good idea to bunch up.
My captain made the mistake of getting out in front of his men. The idea of hand-to-hand combat was just too enticing.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the board, another player's space goblins were having a hard time accessing a data loot objective. That's because he didn't have a hacker in his crew, which gives you a +6 when you try to download data. His basic crewgoblins kept missing their target rolls, prompting me to joke that they're standing in front of the termal confused, asking each other, "Which one's the 'any' key???"
Meanwhile, my Sentry, Whome, was mixing it up with a bunch of United Federation of Planets crewmembers.
All the shooting meant a roll on the Unwanted Attention Table, drawing in a bounty hunter. As luck and the placement dice roll would have it, he appeared on the side of the board right next to my guy.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Some ship worth fighting for (or over)

Remember the spaceships for my space war? I finished repainting and modding this one a couple of weeks ago after gaining some inspiration from watching crafting videos from Wyloch's Armory.
What was once a Space Union vessel is now the Kaye MacGuoyo, a short-distance sublight cargo hauler that is impractical for most spaceship gaming but very useable for a sci-fi skirmish, such as Stargrave.
Whether hiding behind or in it, figures can take advantage of this spaceship's port and stern hatches, along with a flat dorsal deck suitable for storing more cargo or for tactical use as combat positions.
The 'Uoyo lacks any FTL capability, such as a Bachman-Turner Overdrive, instead relying on its four Neerglaw pseudogravity caps to reach low orbit for in-system planetary hops.
(I originall had this ship outfitted with larger, more cumbersome éloD agrav units, but I prefer the sleeker look of the smaller engines.)
This was a pretty easy piece to make game-ready. I just unscrewed the top and bottom parts and spraypainted them (brown bottom, grey top), then drybrushed and washed (thanks again to Wyloch for inspiring me to get this finished). For the engines, I popped out the propellers from the nacelles, glued together these engines made from pill and tea plastic bottle caps, painted them metallic brown, and attached them.

I painted the windows will some color-shifting black paint, then some color-shifting white in the upper left corners. Some orange paint dabbed on for rust here and there, and now this piece is ready for us to fight over, fight for, or fight from.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

1 Gigasun

The spaceship combat game A Billion Suns finally arrived at my local game store. I'm looking forward to trying this game out; the resource management (starting with no ships on the table and giving a limited number of orders each turn--not to mention trying to win the game while expending as little as possible) looks extremely interesting. The rules can accomodate two to four players, and there is a campaign system as well. This book is from the author of Gaslands, but the combat engine is completely different, and there are no specially marked dice or templates required. The scenarios (multiple for a single game) look interesting and play out on separate maps, with players having the option to jump fleets between the game boards. Now that we're getting ready to start in-person gaming soon, I can't wait to introduce A Billion Suns to my group.

Monday, June 14, 2021

"Space ships for your space war"

Browsing online for cheap toys to use in Stargrave, I came across the Space Union line of sci-fi sets, advertised as "Space ships for your space war." According to the packaging, this toy line is made by Peng Rong out of China. I found two items, once looking like a SHIELD helicarrier, and the other like a more conventional science fictional vessel.  

Each was under twenty bucks, and free shipping. I got a whole lot of toys for my $40. Not only were they large models, suitable for use in 28mm skirmish games, but each big ship carried several smaller toys, a mix of flying and ground vehicles. 

The set incuded a couple of scale-indeterminate winged craft that could do in a spaceship game, a tracked tank that might work in Ogre, and even a die-cast sedan. While the car is too small for 28mm, the construction-type hover vehicle and the four-legged walker (which will make a nice robot guardian) are the perfect size for Stargrave and other sci-fi games, like Mutants & Death Ray Guns.

These toys have a lot of potential in my scenarios as objective, opponents, opportunities, or even just scatter terrain. Unfortunately, the low price of these sets means the undersides of most of these vehicles are hollow, but that won't be an issue in most games. 

Still, it's a lot of bang for your gaming bucks. These spaceships just need some new paint jobs, and they'll be ready for use as terrain features or objectives. Their size means they will block line-of-sight and provide vantage points, which will make tactical situations interesting. All in all, I'm happy with my purchase.

Now I'm off to work on my space ships for my space war.